The Pont L’Evèque is a soft cheese from Normandy made from cow’s milk with a washed-rind, easily recognizable by its consistent square shape. It is one of the world’s more ancient cheeses, created in the XII century by Cistercian monks from Caen city.
The Pont L’Evèque is a soft cheese from Normandy made from cow’s milk with a washed-rind. It is easily recognizable by its consistent square shape – 4.3 inches wide and 1.2 inches thick. It is one of the world’s more ancient cheeses, created in the XII century by Cistercian monks from Caen city. At first, it was called Angelot and was sometimes used as a means of trade, pay and even tax. The cheese took the name of Pont L’Evèque in the XVII century from a village located between Deauville and Lisieux, which was one of the most important cheese marketplaces in the region. Since 1972, the Pont L’Evèque is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in France and has been recognized in 1996 as such at the UE level.
The cheese is made from cow’s milk; in 2020, farmers must have at least 50% of Normand breed cows in their herd. Cows have to graze a minimum of six months per year and 80% of their ration must come from the farm.
0.8 gallons of milk are necessary to make a standard Pont L’Evèque. One week after the beginning of the cheese making process, a wash and/or a brush with slightly salted water is carried out to allow microorganisms to develop and to add the specific taste that is attributed the Pont L’Evèque.
The cheese has to mature between 2 and 6 weeks before being sold in wooden packaging.
How to recognize a good Pont L’Evèque?
The rind, fairly smooth, varies between golden-yellow and orange. Its color, its well-rounded aspect and its softness indicate a fine cheese. The texture should be palish-yellow in color and tender: neither too dry nor too runny. Smooth and slightly salty, the aromas that develop are reminiscent of hazelnuts.
You should remove the cheese from the fridge at least an hour before eating it. Cut triangular slices and enjoy it with or without the rind, accompanied by a piece of good crusty bread and perhaps dry fruits or nuts (for example figs or hazelnuts). For an optimal wine pairing, choose a full-bodied red wine such as Bouzy, Volnay, Bourgueil or Pomerol. Or you can try it with a cold brut cider from Normandy!
Recipe: Pont L’Evèque grilled oyster
15 min preparation
5 min cooking
1 Pont L’Evèque
2 oz of shallot
1.4 oz of butter
0.3 pint (20cl) of fresh cream
Open the oysters, drain the water and place them on a plate with a bed of coarse salt. Carve the shallot, remove the rind of the Pont L’Evèque and cut it into small pieces. In a saucepan, cook the shallot with the butter and when it browns add the Pont L’Evèque and the fresh cream. Let it cook until it slightly reduce. Cover every oyster with the preparation and let it grill for 5 min.